A string of over 40 fires in Los Angeles,including the Hollywood area have set the city on edge on New Year’s Eve as authorities deployed hundreds of extra firefighters,federal investigators and police choppers to stop the arson,worst since the 1992 riots.
The 21 initial fires,set in rapid succession in the Hollywood area,prompted authorities in California to post the reward in what they say is one of the worst arson sprees in recent memory. Despite a USD 60,000 reward,authorities had not made an arrest so far.
The fires were set within a span of about five hours early on Friday morning,and in nearly every case they were started on parked cars,officials said. The fires occurred when many people were enjoying the holidays with family.
Last night,firefighters rushed to multiple fires,quickly extinguishing a vehicle fire in a Hollywood carport and responding to another in the massive parking structure at
Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Those blazes followed at least 38 other suspicious fires between Thursday night and Saturday,making it the worst wave of arson since the 1992 riots,the Los Angeles Times reported.
Los Angeles had witnessed six days of rioting in 1992 after a jury acquitted three white and one Hispanic Los Angeles police officers accused in the beating of black motorist Rodney King following a high-speed pursuit.
“Whoever is doing this is really messing with people’s lives,” Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Captain Jamie Moore said.
“We’re pulling out all the stops,” LAFD spokesman Brian Humphrey said. “We’re hoping that the person or people responsible will be brought to swift and complete justice.”
“We’ve reassigned detectives from Major Crimes Division and Robbery-Homicide,exclusively to find who’s doing this,” said Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Commander Andrew Smith. “We’ve got dozens of detectives working around the
Federal investigators have been called in to help the LAPD and LAFD probe the arson attacks.
Extra firefighters were reporting to stations across Los Angeles,Santa Monica,Burbank and Glendale,while police set up a telephone hotline and interviewed witnesses.